Updated 12/31 CENTRAL NEW YORK -- While most media outlets use this week to look back at all the general news from 2011, we're using these last few days of the year to look back at all the news from within those media outlets. On New Year's Eve, we'll countdown our "top 10" stories based on our server stats. But first, our annual month-by-month "debriefing" of the most notable stories we covered in 2011.
- 1st: The year begins with a last-minute temporary deal to keep Sinclair stations on Time Warner Cable lineups nationwide. In Syracuse, the deal includes Fox 68 (WSYT) and My43 (WNYS).
- 2nd: News-talker 570 WSYR's long-rumored simulcast on 106.9FM begins. Clear Channel transfers the WSYR-FM call sign back to Syracuse, after using them in Florida for many years, on the 6th.
- 3rd: We note the December 29th passing of Tom Burke, former Utica radio personality who went on to run an ad agency and DJ business.
- 7th: Longtime WSEN/WFBL General Manager Judy Kelly announces she's heading to a new job in Florida.
- 8th: A long corporate battle between Time Warner Cable and Utica NBC affiliate WKTV finally comes to a close. WKTV had been removed on some TWC systems on December 15th; the cable company piped in Scranton affiliate WBRE.
- 14th: Former Utica radio personality Larry Oyer -- "Big Larry Williams" on-air -- dies at 57.
- 14th: Multiple readers send concurrent tips WSYR radio has dismissed two reporters -- Tiffany Latino and Michelle Clark.
- 18th: Former I-100 (WIII) programmer Dave Ashton returns to Ithaca; this time, as PD and morning co-host at Lite Rock 97.3 (WYXL).
- 19th: Sports talk host Mike Bristol's two shows resurface at ESPN Radio CNY (WSGO/WTLA), after multiple format flips at Clear Channel in late 2010 resulted in the death of the "SportsRadio 620" format on WHEN.
- 20th: NPR's first-ever news director, Cleve Mathews, dies at 84. After NPR, Mathews became a professor and administrator at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
- 29th: NewsChannel 9 (WSYR-TV) executes a "soft launch" of Syracuse's first-ever HD local newscast, ahead of schedule of the "February 2011" launch date promoted earlier. The new HD look includes a new set and new graphics, along with a new logo.
- 30th: The Irish Power Hour is moving down the Syracuse FM dial, from 105.9 The Big Talker (WXTL) to active rock 95X (WAQX).
- 1st: The NYS Broadcasters Association announces longtime NewsChannel 9 anchors Rod Wood and Carrie Lazarus will be inducted to its Hall of Fame later this year.
- 3rd: CNYRadio.com is among the winners for this year's Syracuse Press Club awards, with Second Place in the Internet Public Service category.
- 4th: Sound of Jazz host Leo Rayhill celebrates 50 years in local radio.
- 4th: YNN senior reporter Bill Carey wins a Regional Emmy Award for his documentary reviewing a mass shooting in Binghamton.
- 7th: Yankees fans are upset to learn WSYR radio will not carry the team's weekday afternoon games this season.
- 9th: After two weeks off-air due to a transmitter failure, Cazenovia College's WITC returns to the airwaves -- thanks to a spare on-loan from WHWS at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva.
- 20th: Syndicated "Oldies Radio" PD and midday host Dave Michaels dies at 60. He and his Dallas-based programming were formerly carried on Utica's WODZ.
- 21st: With Matthew Benedict up for parole in early 2012, former Syracuse broadcaster Maria Leaf launches an online petition to keep Benedict behind bars. He killed Leaf's brother Bill, also a broadcaster, in 2006. Benedict was driving drunk the wrong way on Interstate 81.
- 22nd: Kudos to WCNY-TV, the only local station to win a 2011 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
- 22nd: The Score 1260 (WSKO) names Mike Lindsley to host middays, filling a vacancy left by Danny Parkins.
- 25th: Former WOLF personality Don Lancer dies at 68. After Syracuse, Lancer worked at Philadelphia's KYW for nearly 40 years.
- 29th: Gary Nolan says he's leaving 105.9 The Big Talker (WXTL) to return to his former station in Missouri, to launch a nationally-syndicated show (which we're still waiting to hear anything about).
- 29th: Call it a career for longtime Utica radio host Hank Brown, whose morning show on 95.5 WUTQ is displaced by programming changes. Brown reportedly declined WUTQ's offer for a different timeslot.
- 29th: Citadel Syracuse rocker 95X (WAQX) promotes "Big Smoothie" to afternoons and night guy "Joe D" to assistant PD.
- 30th: The local Associated Press award winners are named, and Oswego's WRVO is the only radio station in our coverage area on the list, with 16 wins in total. TV awards are doled out among several local stations.
- 1st: No word on when Tammy Palmer left Time Warner Cable's YNN, but she's now reporting at NewsChannel 9.
- 1st: After a few years off-air, former WSYR radio APD and news anchor Jules Thompson is headed back to radio -- as news director at Utica's WIBX. Current ND Jeff Monaski is promoted to PD.
- 5th: Brad Stone is moving his internet-only Kiss-FM from Syracuse to Watertown, beyond the CNYRadio.com coverage area.
- 5th: Classic FM (WCNY-FM) debuts a new locally-produced program called Arts Talk.
- 10th: Former Bridge Street co-host Julie Abbott loses her 2-year-old son in a drowning accident.
- 11th: Clear Channel announces its iHeartRadio platform will soon allow users to create their own stations, making it more competitive with Pandora.
- 11th (reported 14th): The Syracuse-based Mars Hill Network gets final FCC approval for its latest addition, WMHU in Cold Brook, Herkimer County.
- 18th: WEOS General Manager Aaron Read takes a new job in Calfornia, and Greg Cotterill is promoted to GM.
- 19th: 93Q morning hosts Ted & Amy are named the voices of the State Fair. Former announcer Bob Gibbons had passed away since last year's fair.
- 22nd: Former WSYR radio news anchor Eric Reinhardt heads west to join the anchor team at Buffalo's WBEN.
- 28th: WCNY says plans to build facilities on Syracuse's Near Westside -- on hiatus for four years -- are back on track, with construction to begin later in the summer.
- 30th: Utica's Lite 98.7 raises $29,000 in its 11th Annual Radiothon for the Children's Miracle Network.
- 31st: Rick Buckley, the former owner of Syracuse stations WSEN AM/FM and WFBL, dies.
- 8th: Ithaca College's WICB and VIC Radio say they'll be participating in a nationwide "College Radio Day."
- 10th: Reader question: Why has Rome's WRUY been silent since May? CNYRadio.com digs through FCC records to find out why -- and how much longer the station can stay dark before the FCC kills the license.
- 10th: Longtime Utica TV news anchor Don Shipman ties the knot, following New York's recent legalization of same-sex marriages.
- 12th: Former Utica talk radio host John Dote is going to jail for 6 months after stealing $60,000 from the political party he chaired.
- 13th: WCNY's future home on Syracuse's Near Westside will include a $6.6 million "master control hub" to serve every PBS affiliate in New York State and two in New Jersey.
- 13th: Clear Channel gives more work to Syracuse GM Joel Delmonico and OM Rich Lauber -- they'll be overseeing the company's six-station Binghamton cluster as well.
- 13th: ESPN Radio CNY's afternoon show Disturbing the Peace is renamed Upon Further Review and moves to a new studio at WSYR-TV -- so the show's first two hours can be simulcast on WSYR-DT 9.2 every day.
- 17th: Mere months after joining WIBX, Jules Thompson leaves to become nightside assignment editor at WSYR-TV. He'll be working with former WSYR radio colleague Dave Bullard, who runs the desk during the day.
- 26th: A major shocker in Syracuse radio -- WSYR afternoon talker Jim Reith is axed after 27 years with the station. Also hit by nationwide Clear Channel layoffs: producers Mike Foltz and Bill Ali, and on-air talent Rachel Marisay, who had shifts on almost every station in the cluster at one point or another, sometimes all on the same day.
- 27th: Utica NBC affiliate WKTV gets a new general manager -- Steve Doerr comes from WLNE in Providence, RI.
- 31st: Oswego-based NPR affiliate WRVO officially announces a "staffing reset" which actually started several weeks earlier, resulting in three people exiting, and one reporter reduced from full-time to freelance status.
- 1st: Wall-to-wall holiday music begins on Galaxy's Sunny 102.2 in Syracuse, and Mix 102.5 in Utica. Other "usual suspects" throughout CNY jump on the all-Christmas bandwagon as the month progresses.
- 1st: Notable departure #1 -- WFTV Orlando has hired WSYR-TV reporter Racquel Asa. She'll leave Syracuse by month's end.
- 1st: Notable departure #2 -- Longtime Citadel Syracuse staffer Kevin Keefe is leaving to become the GM of three stations in Ogdensburg.
- 4th: Jennifer Lewke, who exited WSYR-TV in May, is back on TV, reporting at Albany CBS affiliate WRGB.
- 9th: The first-ever nationwide EAS Test takes place, exposing failures which could leave some parts of the country out of the loop in the event of an actual national-scale emergency.
- 20th: Cumulus Media hands out pink slips nationwide. In Syracuse, 93Q night host Brandon C is sent packing.
- 23rd: WSTM news photographer Brian Erb marks 40 years with the station.
- 23rd: The FCC says Utica's Roser Communications Network is planning to buy WRCK 100.7FM for $425,000.
- 25th: WSYR radio PD Jason Furst is given extra duties, programming Rochester's WHAM and WHTK. In exchange, he'll no longer be programming Syracuse's Hot 107.9 (WWHT).
- 29th: Local sports talk hosts put in extra hours appearing as guests for sports shows elsewhere, as stations seek "local insight" on the erupting scandal involving former SU associate basketball coach Bernie Fine.
- 30th: Cumulus Syracuse GM Shane Bogardus is part of this year's "40 Under 40" awards winners.
Coming Saturday: The Top 10 Stories of 2011
On the final day of the year, we'll tally up our site traffic stats to find out which stories on CNYRadio.com and CNYTVNews.com were the biggest stories of 2011. Our top 10 countdown will appear at noon on Saturday. But first..
Coming Tomorrow: YOUR Picks on 2011's Biggest Stories
We know "the numbers" don't always necessarily reflect what we, as a community, might deem to be the most important stories in our hearts and minds. This year, we're trying out something new: earlier this month, we gave an open invitation for you to share YOUR picks on the year's biggest stories. So, before we total up all the web traffic stats, we'll take a subjective look the year. Look for that article, powered by your opinions, tomorrow at noon.